Wounds take a long time to heal here. A scratch on the skin of my strong and healthy children used to heal within a day or two in the United States. Here, it’s at least a week, sometimes more. Perhaps it’s the air quality as thousands of cars, motos and tuk-tuks pump unregulated toxins into the air around us. Perhaps it’s the food, covered in chemicals. Perhaps it’s just stress from moving across the globe to a new country, culture and school.
The term “skin in the game” comes from the world of finance and refers to having put oneself at risk by being actively involved in trying to achieve something. As I’ve watched my girls’ scrapes and scratches heal slowly and heard from my colleagues at MCC Cambodia that there are a lot of skin issues in Cambodia, it seems poetic to me that we are here, physically present, taking risks to our literal skin, in order to try and achieve relationships which will help to heal Cambodia.
Theologian Henri Nouwen writes in “The Wounded Healer” about people who want to be part of healing others. He shares ordinary stories of how being open and vulnerable about our own wounds allows us to be part of the healing journey for others. There is no magic formula for healing a certain person, much less a group or people, or a nation, which has suffered trauma. But what we can do is be present, listen, and respond with love in our daily situations.
The healing of Cambodia is a long process and MCC and many others have been working at it a long time. After all, wounds take a long time to heal here.